Brazil’s Vale has launched a pilot project to make a magnetic concentration of low-grade ore without using water in Minas Gerais.
This $3mn project will gauge the success of the new process before the company builds a new 1.5mn mt per year industrial plant that will use this method to process iron ore, Vale said in a statement on Friday.
The new industrial plant, which will cost the steelmaker $100mn, is scheduled to become operational in 2022.
By 2024, the South American miner estimates about 1pc of all the company’s output will be processed using this technology, known as Fines Dry Magnetic Separation (FDMS), developed by New Steel, which was acquired by Vale in 2018.
Moreover, Vale estimates that in 2024, the 70pc of production will come from dry or natural moisture processing that will not need water or tailings dams. The South American firm currently produces 60pc of its iron ore using natural moisture processing.
Vale has revised its production guidance for 2020 to 310-330mn mt of iron ore fines,35.40mn mt pellets, and 360,000-380,000mt of copper. Its nickel production, excluding Vale New Caledonia, is expected to reach 180,000-195,000mt.